Our room at Le Touessrok opened out directly onto the beach and a short wander from the rocky area you see in these photos. It was so much fun clambering around the rocks and encountering all kinds of creatures amongst the seaweed; schools of whitebait, a huge sea cucumber, tiny white crabs and sea urchins ranging from deep purple to bright green. I saw a sea urchin on my second trip to Mauritius aged 7 and I wanted to pick it up because I thought it was a plant. I remember my Dad telling me not to because in fact this strange, spiky thing was a living creature, and he (the sea urchin) was just trying to get along without little girls picking him up and moving him around. One of my most vivid childhood memories is looking at the sea urchin and thinking how it was SO unlike a fox, or a duck, or a zebra or any animal I could imagine, and realising how many thousands of creatures there must be in the world.
On the morning of these photos we were joined by about a hundred crabs scuttling across the rocks. Mauritius has so many species of fish and plants that are endemic to the country and even just standing by the tide for half an hour it’s amazing to think you’re seeing all kinds of creatures that don’t live anywhere else. Exploring the rock pools made me remember discovering pretty little shells as a child and imagining I’d stumbled upon possessions that mermaids had lost or abandoned. With this in mind I couldn’t help but collect up some of the daintiest shells and leave them laid out for something else to find later on, even if it’s only the fishes. Our adventures picking our way through the rockpools also made me recall the last line of this poem by e e cummings which seemed very apt;
‘For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea’.